Top Christmas gifts to make your home smarter
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(Image credit: TechRadar)

If your friends and family are interested in developing their smart home systems this Christmas, it can be tough to know where to start as the gift giver. It can be a bit of a minefield if tech isn’t really your area, and things can get expensive quickly. That’s why we’re here to get you started with a range of practical smart home device recommendations.

First you need to bear in mind the various smart home ecosystems. The big players are Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung, and ZigBee, so it’s worth finding out the suite of products in which your giftee has invested, to make sure your carefully-considered presents aren’t incompatible. If they haven’t got a fully-fledged smart home system yet, it might be worth keeping in mind whether they have an Amazon Echo or Google Assistant speaker already, for example. If they have an iPhone, investigate Apple HomeKit-related smart gear.

There are intelligent devices for everything nowadays: there are smart doorbells, security cameras, light bulbs, and more, available for your tech-minded loved ones. Not sure where to start? Here are some Christmas smart home gift ideas to make shopping a little easier.

(Image credit: Future)

Sonos One

The best smart speaker you can buy

Reasons to buy

+Rich sound+Alexa, Google Assistant, and AirPlay 2+Plays music when Alexa is muted

Reasons to avoid

No Hi-Res Audio support

Most good smart home starts with a smart speaker – and the Sonos One is the best one you can buy. 

With Alexa and Google Assistant built-in, you can control your music as well as your other smart home gadgets with your voice alone – and support for Apple AirPlay 2 makes this speaker truly impartial when it comes to the services and smart home ecosystems you want to buy into. 

As well as all that, the Sonos One boasts the audio brand’s multi-room smarts, so you can hook it up to other Sonos speakers for a truly connected home – that’s one hard-working Christmas gift. 

Read more: Sonos One review

(Image credit: Ring)

Ring Video Doorbell 3

The best smart doorbell on the market

Reasons to buy

+Attractive design+Great motion tracking+App is easy to to use

Reasons to avoid

No free video storage

Building the perfect smart home starts at your front door, and what better to way to secure your loved one’s home than buying the best smart doorbell, the Ring Video Doorbell 3?

This nifty device replaces your traditional doorbell, adding a camera that allows you to see who’s at your doorstep – even if you’re away from home. Once someone approaches your door, you’ll get a notification on your phone, and if they press the button, a video call will appear on your phone. 

Support for Google Assistant and Alexa means that it can be controlled via your other smart gadgets – for example, you could ask Google Assistant to show you the view from your front door on your Google Nest Hub Max smart display.

(Image credit: Philips Hue)

Philips Hue

The best smart lightbulb to make your home glow

Reasons to buy

+Widely supported+Easy to install+Excellent app

Reasons to avoid

Can be pricey

One of the easiest ways to make your ‘dumb’ home smart is to invest in some smart light bulbs – and the best ones you can buy are in the Philips Hue range. 

The Philips Hue lineup for LED bulbs come in a variety of shapes and sizes for just about any household lighting need, as well as different colors for fans of mood lighting. 

If you opt for Philips Hue bulbs, you will need to get the Philips Bridge, which is kind of like a hub for your lights. The advantage, however, is reliability, and the fact that the system is compatible with a range of different standards and home control systems including Apple HomeKit, Nest and Samsung SmartThings.

Read more: Philips Hue review

(Image credit: Google)

Nest Learning Thermostat

Let the best smart thermostat adapt to your routine

Reasons to buy

+Elegant design+Clever

Reasons to avoid

No Apple HomeKit compatibility

When you start looking into smart thermostats for your technophile loved one, you’re guaranteed to come across Nest products; the Google-owned company dominates the market, and with good reason. The Nest Learning Thermostat is the heating system to go for, as it uses its smarts to learn your routine, so eventually you can just let it do its thing.

While it may be a little confusing for tech novices, and its lack of zonal control means you may need to tweak radiators is individual rooms, investing in a Google-backed smart thermostat is a good way to go if you’re building a wider smart home system. Location-based features that turn heating on or off depending on your phone’s location is a nice touch, too. 

Read more: Nest Learning Thermostat review

(Image credit: Eufy)

Anker Eufycam 2

The best all-around smart camera

Reasons to buy

+No monthly subscription +365-day battery life+Weather-proof IP67 rating

Reasons to avoid

Only records when triggered

The Anker Eufycam 2 is a dependable mid-range option for most people looking for a smart security camera. It doesn’t have the best video resolution and it only records  when it’s been triggered, but it has a wide variety of features, and the lack of a mandatory subscription keeps costs down.

This, along with the 365-day battery and IP67 weather-proof rating, make the Eufycam 2 the best affordable smart security camera option for most people, without any pesky maintenance costs.

Read more: Anker Eufycam 2 review

(Image credit: August)

August Smart Lock Pro

This smart lock is expensive, but well worth the cash

Reasons to buy

+Good compatibility+Strong+Automatic features

If you’re serious about security, a smart lock is a smart choice. The August Smart Lock Pro is the best of the bunch, fitting on to your existing deadbolt, and allowing you to use your existing key – with all the benefits of a smart lock. 

It allows you to lock and unlock your door remotely, which is handy if you need to let someone in while you’re away, and you can even set it up to unlock automatically when you’re within 200 feet of your home. 

You can also set smart alerts to let you know if you’re door is locked or unlocked. or when you’ve accidentally left you door open – a great gift for the forgetful person in your life. 

Read more: August Smart Lock Pro review

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